For the past two seasons we have seen two different players on the Dodgers emerge and have monstrous years. Those players would be Chris Taylor in 2017 and Max Muncy in 2018. Both players basically came out of nowhere and surprised Dodger fans and baseball fans in general. Each player has had their fair share of the limelight as well.
In 2017, Chris Taylor emerged as the Center Fielder for the Dodgers and quickly became a feared hitter. It seemed like Taylor was always getting on base somehow and some way. That year, Taylor managed to rack up 21 Home Run’s, 5 triples, 34 doubles and posted a .288 Batting Average. The guy was a monster and seemed like he always came up with a big hit. In fact, Chris Taylor was actually named 2017 NLCS Co-MVP along with Justin Turner.
The next season would be a bit different for Taylor, though. Chris Taylor regressed to a certain extent. He still put up good offensive numbers but he struck out way too much. I’m not sure what the cause of this was but, maybe Taylor was focusing too much on the “launch angle” idea and lost himself at the plate. In 2018, Chris Taylor led the National League in strikeouts with 178. Nonetheless, Chris Taylor still contributed to the Dodgers any way he could and he surely isn’t a player that should be overlooked.
Max Muncy on the other hand, is a player that was overlooked. Muncy was invited to play at Spring Training last year, but didn’t make the Opening Day roster. Once all of the early season injuries started to pile up, Muncy got the call to play in Los Angeles. Muncy broke onto the scene as a stocky player that had tremendous power. This power was nothing to joke around with either. Muncy led the Dodgers in 2018 with 35 Home Run’s and was a participant in the 2018 Home Run Derby!
Muncy’s most famous Home Run to date came in Game 3 of the 2018 World Series when he hit a Walk-Off Home Run against Nate Eovaldi in the bottom of the 18th inning. Max Muncy would be the first Dodger since Kirk Gibson to hit a Walk-Off Home Run in a World Series game. Since 2018 was Muncy’s first full season in the Majors, it is hard to judge how he will do this upcoming season. Expect him to have that same amount of power but who knows if his Strikeout rate will increase. Surely it will to some extent but hopefully he doesn’t repeat Chris Taylor and lead the National League in Strikeouts.
With all of that being said, who will be the next surprise that the Dodgers have for us? Will it be somebody in the big league club such as Austin Barnes or Kiké Hernandez? Or will it be a player in the minor leagues that is eager to make a statement? Personally, I believe it will be a player on the big league team such as Austin Barnes. Last year, Barnes was terrible, offensively. I believe he will change that and step his game up.
Who do you think will be the new breakout star for the Dodgers in 2019?